Airports in Chennai
The third busiest airport in India, Chennai Madras International Airport is located in Tirusulam, just 4.3 miles (7km) south of Chennai in southern India. The airport is a bustling portal for visitors to India's southern states: Goa, Tamil Nadu, Karkataka and Kerala.
Already handling more than 12 million passengers each year, the airport is currently expanding to double its capacity by mid-2012. Passengers flying in to Chennai International Airport should be prepared for organised chaos with crowds of touts, taxi-wallahs and beggars milling around. Despite this daunting introduction to India however, Chennai International Airport is a popular airport, with flights available to dozens of major airports in Asia and Europe.
The airport is located 4.3 miles (7km) south of Chennai's city centre
Getting to the city
Airport taxis: Always use prepaid taxis to get into the city from the airport; it's the safest way to ensure that you reach your destination without being overcharged. Numerous taxi companies have counters in the arrivals section of Chennai International Airport: use Aviation Express, as they have the best reputation, and sometimes offer you a choice of vehicles (either the wonderful old Ambassador cars, or newer Toyota Innova minivans). Make sure you have small notes or coins on you for a tip. Expect to pay INR 350-450 for the 30-minute trip into town.
Auto-Rickshaw (Tuk-Tuk): If you want to dive right into India's most exhilarating transportation experience, three-wheeled auto-rickshaws are also widely available to get you into town from the airport. Be warned that they are really uncomfortable if you have a lot of baggage with you, and you're almost certainly going to have to negotiate a price with your driver (they won't use the metre) before taking off. Try for INR 200, and don't go above INR 300.
Bus: There is also a public bus stop located right outside the gates to Chennai International Airport. Bus No. 18A operates between 5am and 10pm, making frequent trips into the city. Make sure you tell the driver where you're going, so they can help get off at the right stop. Expect to pay about INR 20 for the 45-minute trip. Bus No. 18B (INR 35) operates along the same route as 18A, but is air-conditioned, and generally less full.
Train: If you leave Chennai International Airport, walk through the gate, down Great Southern Trunk Road, and go through the underpass running beneath National Highway 45 - you'll find yourself in Tirusulam Railway Station. From there, you can get to the city (Egmore Station) every 20-30 minutes by train. Train stations in India can get very hectic, so it's probably advisable to buy your tickets from the rail service counter at the airport. The trip between the stations should take about 25-30 minutes, costing INR 12 (for 2nd class, not recommended if you have baggage) or INR 100 (approx. for 1st class).
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Chennai Airport Taxis: the taxi fares above are intended as a guideline only.
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